Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thoughts from the Road

I have found a quick moment to jots some notes from my journey thus far before they are forgotten.  I am midway through the trip at this point and it has been a true whirlwind and quite wonderful.  Here is a very quick synopsis.

I have:
  • Been through five airports (seven total before I'm home - OKC, STL, BWI, IAD, OAK, SFO, & DIA)
  • Been to MO, MD, DC, VA and CA thus far.
  • Traveled via car, plane, bus, and boat.
  • Visited with old friends and met many new people I hope to call friends
  • Been drenched to the skin a random rainshower
  • Talked one on one with the a New York Times best selling author and financial reporter for half an hour
  • Chatted with an elderly man who seemed so full of wisdom-- a quiet patient conversation that reminded me of my grandfather.
  • hugged and been hugged dozens of times.
  • Eaten more seafood than I do in months (and had more wine too)
  • Walked quietly along the shoreline path in the early morning
  • Stood on my balcony soaking in the beauty of the resort and the morning
  • Listened to the "Silent Phase" live in their first (only?) performance
  • Talked to my kids and husband daily, even if it meant waking them up to do so
  • Made s'mores at the fire pit with my boss
  • Explained the telecommuting situation dozens of times
  • Learned about the future of health care and possibilities for democratization
  • Tried to imagine what it would be like to have $100 million or even $1 million dollars extra to give to a charity? (Or even to have that amount to begin with.... yes, this was a philanthropy leadership retreat of sorts).
  • Eaten fabulous food - I think the scallops and crab cakes were my favorite, but the strawberry shortcake was also just right.
  • Taken a boat cruise down the estuary at sunset
  • Attended the Board meeting
  • Talked about the importance of community and connectedness to the institution and wondered about  that challenge
  • Had faculty, trustees, administrators and donors talk to me about their fears, hopes and memories of GW
  • Laughed with my colleagues.- they are really amazing.  We work well together, but we play well together too.
  • Worked through mini-problems of the days (work)
  • Wandered along the 2011 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade (second wildest parade I've been too - St. Patrick's Day in Dublin was still the most far out).
  •  Visited Yerba Buena Park 
  • Shopped at the Westfield Center
  • Wondered how much bureaucracy we must put in place for COI just to get people to basically "do the right thing"
  • Heard a presentation by the "Get Things Done" guy, that mostly just stressed me out both about how much I have to do and the very possibility of organizing it.
  • Been woken up repeatedly by various pieces of my electronic menagerie beeping in the night
  • Left the lights on in my rental car and had it jumped by the hotel (as an aside, my car was this obnoxious orange color, really bizarre).
  • Talked almost non-stop -- often with people I've never met.  Almost felt like I'd hit my networking stride... may never really 
  • Soaked my blistered feet in the kiddie pool
  • Met fascinating people on the patio at night with drinks in hand and smoke in the air.
  • Worn high heels more than in most months
  • Procured sailor hats for both kids (including one donated by the Dean of GSHED)
  • Missed my kids & Brent
  • Been thankful for our family that makes trips like these possible
  • Felt so very lucky that I have an amazing job that lets me have these experience and surrounds me with some phenomenal colleagues.
  •   Wandered the streets of San Francisco soaking up the city, getting exercise and enjoying having no demands on my time (for an hour or two at least)
  • Read the first part of Game of Thrones.
  • Learned about "branding" and the "message"
  • Sat by very old women on the plane that spoke no english (and were very confused)
  • Tried to savor this experience and be in the moment not wishing for the next.
  • Been amazed at how incredible the retreat experience was and full of hopes for a great conference.

I feel a little bit like my Dad being amazed at all this, and like to think that he is probably somewhere watching in fascination. I feel pretty accustom to travel, conferences, and my job, but really feel like this time some of these experience and people have been so much more incredible than I anticipated.  I am so thankful that I am getting to do all this -- Thanks to all of you that make it possible-- particularly Brent, Maggie, Brendan, Mom, Able, Bill, Marilyn and, of course, GW.

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